Tireless instrumentalists and producers Classixx demonstrated the breadth of their talents and resulting musical repertoire in an engrossing live performance at San Francisco’s Independent on April 11. The duo’s immense popularity was made manifest by a live performance that felt like a two-way celebration of their work, with the crowd showing just as much reason to rejoice for the album’s success as the creators themselves.
A retro television appeared from the dark rear of the stage beaming out the Classixx running men logo. Like the two iconic figures, the young men who appeared shortly thereafter are perpetually moving–toward the next sound, the next show, the next hit-stuffed release.
Childhood friends-turned disco demigods Michael David and Tyler Blake took the stage wearing smiles, with David tuning up his various string instruments while Blake positioned himself in front of the synths, offering the keys a few wake-up tickles.
The dreamy, echoing melody of Hanging Gardens floated across the anxious crowd, proving that its application as a mood-setting intro extends well beyond the album itself. David peeled off a squealing rendition of the guitar solo, eliciting wild oohs and ahhs from the sold-out crowd with musicianship that scoffs at the idea of a passive electronic music performance.
The bass-driven Supernature moved in seamlessly, the swaying crowd grooving slowly in sync with the two otherworldly figures on stage silhouetted by soft cones of blue, purple and red light.
Their occasional cross-stage chatter signaled improvisations and switches, each inspiring ecstatic approval from the crowd, as with the instantly recognizable intro to Jozi’s Fire, which was met with wild cheers and moving bodies.
Then, in what wound up being the hands-down highlight of the show, the night’s opener Chela emerged once again, clad in her neon green tee and leather vest hanging down past her black shorts, silver shoes dancing across the stage as she crooned out Nancy Whang’s verses on All You’re Waiting For.
The two thanked Chela for her guest appearance as she left the stage, and they continued to groove through cut after crowd-pleasing cut, each met with loud cheers of satisfaction.
“This one’s for Frankie Knuckles, ladies and gentlemen,” they said as the first hints of Dominoes spilled out over the speakers. Dominoes gave way to Stranger Love, for which Chela rejoined the guys on stage to offer more of her deliciously sweet vocals. Holding On brought the retro TV to an all-black screen and the show to an end.
“Thank you, SF.”
Without too much convincing from the crowd, however, the talented duo retook their positions on stage for an encore, their remix of Psychic City by Yacht.
The tribute and cameos made for memorable exclamation points on an already-fantastic performance, which played out like a long celebration of their hugely popular album with improvised takes made possible by live instrumentation.
As the music ended and they thanked the crowd once more, I inhaled a final breath full of the energy in the intimate room as the crowd stood for just a moment, unified in satisfaction, still embraced by the warm vibes of Classixx.